Los Angeles Preps: Citrus Hill

I.E: Final boys basketball top 10

March, 26, 2012
3/26/12
4:27
PM PT
1. Etiwanda, 30-3: The Eagles finished with their third 30-win season in the last seven and should be in good shape for the next couple years with the return of sophomore point guard Jordan McLaughlin, who averaged a team-high 17.8 points. Etiwanda was taken out by Long Beach Poly in the Division 1AA semifinals for the second straight season, then fell to Loyola in a Southern California Regional second rounder.

2. Eisenhower, 20-8: The Eagles established their run-and-gun identity as the season moved along, and had one of the top players in the I.E. to facilitate that style in shooting guard Marvelle Harris, whose play helped him earn a scholarship from Fresno State in the process. Eisenhower’s season ended with a close loss to Long Beach Poly in the quarterfinals.

3. Elsinore, 28-5: The Tigers came up short of their first section final appearance since 1974, losing by nine points to Mayfair in the Division 2A semifinals. They came back to beat Thousand Oaks in the program’s first SoCal Regional appearance before losing to Inglewood in the second round of Division 2. E.J. Twyman played up to expectations entering his senior year, averaging 26.9 points.

4. Colony, 22-10: Two straight losses to end the season didn’t dampen an otherwise strong run by the Titans. Their season was highlighted by a 73-71 victory against second-seeded Compton in a Division 2A quarterfinal. Colony then lost a back-and-forth game against Righetti to prevent the program from advancing to the championship game for the second time in four seasons.

5. Murrieta Valley, 25-3: Righetti took out the third-seeded Nighthawks the round before they beat Colony, ending an otherwise strong season. They won three tournaments prior to Southwestern League play, then defended that title. Darius Butler scored in double figures in every game en route to averaging a team-high 19.6 points, while Reid Shackelford proved to be one of the I.E.’s most improved players, averaging 16.8.

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Citrus Hill's Rounds climbing up charts

February, 10, 2012
2/10/12
5:09
PM PT
Anthony RoundsCitrus Hill HSAnthony Rounds was born in the I.E., but moved to the Midwest and elsewhere before returning to SoCal.

PERRIS -- Chances are not many Southland prep basketball followers have heard of Anthony Rounds. The senior from Citrus Hill, after all, has not been considered a household name in prep circles.

His days of being a relative unknown on the local landscape, however, appear to be coming to an end. Rounds has developed into a legitimate prospect and the Hawks figure to be a dangerous opponent in CIF-Southern Section postseason play next week as a result.

“Anyone familiar with our program knows that everything runs through Anthony; he's proven capable of shouldering the heavy burden,'' Citrus Hill coach Tim Hatch said. “It's one of those good news and bad news deals. He's not on many people's radar, but once they see him play, the perception about him changes. It's happened more times than I count, actually.''

His numbers this season are comparable to those of his much more well-known counterparts from the greater Los Angeles area. At 6 feet 7, 210-plus pounds, Rounds averaged 18 points, 12 rebounds and nearly three blocks per game in the regular season. Capable of playing in the post or on the wing, he's also contributed close to a pair of assists and steals per night.

Nevertheless, higher-profile peers such as Santa Ana Mater Dei's Katin Reinhardt and Xavier Johnson typically receive most of the recognition. The same thing can be said about Woodland Hills Taft's Anthony January and Los Angeles Windward's Nick Stover. Rightfully so considering each individual is worthy of such praise given their respective bodies of work.

“Lack of attention always makes me work harder, I don't mind, that stuff doesn't bother me, it keeps me motivated,'' Rounds said. “When people don't talk about me, it just makes me hungry to succeed, to go out and prove everyone wrong. I can play with the best. I think that I have been sneaking up on some people for while. I feel like I'm ready to finally breakout.''

Behind Rounds, the Hawks (15-10 overall) won a share of the Mountain Pass League title and signs point to them being prepared for the Division 3-AAA playoffs. If Citrus Hill manages a way to find some success in the first couple of rounds and makes a run toward quarterfinals or semifinals, several interesting showdowns could end up materializing for Rounds.

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I.E.: Boys' basketball Top 10

February, 5, 2012
2/05/12
10:53
PM PT
Most of the top teams in the I.E. held their ground last week, with several clinching outright league titles, or at least a share, heading into the final week of the regular season.

1. (1) Etiwanda, 24-1: Sam Flemming scored with 15 seconds remaining to lift the Eagles to a 70-69 victory Tuesday at Upland, keeping them perfect in Baseline League play. Etiwanda came back to win its 21ststraight game Friday night and clinch the outright league title at Los Osos. Next: Tuesday @ Alta Loma.

2. (2) Eisenhower, 16-7: The Eagles clinched their third consecutive outright Citrus Belt League title with victories last week against visiting A.B. Miller (79-49) and at Redlands East Valley (61-34). Eisenhower wasn’t able to keep up with Fairfax on Saturday afternoon at the Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei and lost, 73-67. Next: Wednesday @ Redlands.

3. (4) Elsinore, 22-3: The Tigers are well on their way to a fourth straight Sunbelt League title after defeating Temescal Canyon (64-57) and Perris (57-55) last week. Elsinore has won 29 consecutive league games. Next: Wednesday @ Heritage.

4. (5) Murrieta Valley, 21-2: The Nighthawks maintained their one-game lead on Vista Murrieta in the Southwestern League with wins last week at Great Oak (46-35) and Murrieta Mesa (60-39). Reid Shackelford sank five of seven three-pointers against Murrieta Mesa. Next: Tuesday vs. Vista Murrieta.

5. (3) J.W. North, 19-5: Last week began with another hiccup in Big VIII League play, an 11-point loss at Riverside Poly, but the Huskies came back with wins against visiting Roosevelt (64-49) and at Corona Santiago (53-48) to clinch at least a share of the league title with two games remaining. Next: Monday @ Riverside King.

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Inland league boys' previews

January, 9, 2012
1/09/12
9:23
PM PT
BASELINE LEAGUE

League openers: Tonight – Etiwanda @ Glendora; Upland @ Los Osos; Alta Loma @ Rancho Cucamonga.

Last year’s finish: Etiwanda (9-1); Glendora (6-4); Upland (6-4); Los Osos (5-5); Rancho Cucamonga (4-6); Alta Loma (0-10).

Players to watch: Jordan McLaughlin (Etiwanda), 5-11, So., G; Sheldon Blackwell (Etiwanda), 6-4, Jr., F; Brandon Townes (Etiwanda), 6-2, Sr., G; Sam Flemming (Etiwanda), 6-0, Sr., F; Nick Colletta (Glendora), 6-5, Jr., F; Kyle Gordon (Glendora), 6-4, Sr., G; Myles Pearson (Upland), 5-10, Sr., G; Ferrell Marshall (Upland), 6-0, Sr., G; Malcolm Drumwright (Rancho Cucamonga), 6-1, Jr., G; Victor Joseph (Rancho Cucmamonga), 6-1, So., G; Adom Jacko (Alta Loma), 6-6, Sr., F; Jonathan Solomon (Los Osos), 6-3, Sr., F.

Predicted order of finish: Etiwanda, Glendora, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Los Osos, Alta Loma.

MOUNTAIN PASS LEAGUE

League openers: Tonight – Beaumont @ Citrus Hill; Hemet @ West Valley; Tahquitz @ San Jacinto.

Last year’s finish: Citrus Hill (10-0); San Jacinto (8-2); Beaumont (5-5); Tahquitz (4-6); West Valley (2-8); Hemet (1-9).

Players to watch: Anthony Rounds (Citrus Hill), 6-7, Sr., F; Ralph Myles (Citrus Hill), 5-0, Sr., G; Dejon Brown (Beaumont), 6-2, Sr., G.; Andrew Walker (Beaumont), Jr.; Kris Acevedo (Hemet), 6-0, Sr., G; P.J. Murrieta (San Jacinto), 5-10, So., G; Roosevelt Adams (West Valley), 6-4, Sr., F; Robert Edwards (West Valley), 6-4, Jr., F; David Walker (Tahquitz), 6-1, Sr., G.

Predicted order of finish: Citrus Hill, Beaumont, San Jacinto, West Valley, Hemet, Tahquitz.

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I.E.: The final Top 10

December, 19, 2011
12/19/11
12:18
AM PT
Well, that’s a wrap on the 2011 high school football season. The Inland Empire is certainly more respected than ever for what it accomplished this fall, beating Pac-5 Division foes Mission Viejo, Alemany, Crespi, Loyola, Tesoro and Mater Dei. They also staged a few memorable matchups against each other, none better than Vista Murrieta’s 35-28 come-from-behind victory against defending champion Corona Centennial in the Inland Division championship game. Here’s a look at the final top 10 of the season.

1. Vista Murrieta, 9-5 – The Broncos went undefeated on the field, beating state-ranked J.W. North, Upland and Centennial in the final three rounds of the Inland Division playoffs. Vista Murrieta self-reported an ineligible player prior to Southwestern League play -- a player who would quickly become eligible --leading to the forfeiture of all five nonleague victories. Many believe the Broncos deserved a state bowl bid but were passed up in favor of two-loss Santa Margarita, largely due to their forfeits. Vista Murrieta will be an early favorite to make the trip next season, as its best player, running back/strong safety Su’a Cravens, is set to return, as well as quarterback Nicholas Stevens and middle linebacker Bryce Smith, the Inland Division’s leading tackler.

2. Corona Centennial, 12-2 – Before the season, Centennial coach Matt Logan said the Huskies would need four or five games to find their footing. Try six quarters. The Huskies won 12 straight after their season-opening loss to St. Bonaventure, all but one by a wide margin. They quickly developed chemistry between a veteran offensive line and first-year senior starters Hayden Gavett at quarterback and Romello Goodman at running back and churned out yardage like past seasons. They came up one drive short against Vista Murrieta, however.

3. Upland, 12-1 – For most of the season, the Highlanders seemed like the front runner to unseat Centennial, but they ran into the same Vista Murrieta storm as the Huskies and saw their run end with a 39-18 semifinal loss. Still, they opened plenty of eyes with a 38-23 nonleaguue victory against L.A. private-school power Loyola and another one-sided victory against Baseline League foe Rancho Cucamonga.

4. Rancho Cucamonga, 11-2 – With 14 starters back from a team that lost in double overtime of the 2010 Inland Division semifinals, the Cougars came into this season ranked No. 2 in the ESPNLA Inland Empire preseason rankings. They weren’t as prepared as Upland and lost that clash, but got off the mat to beat fourth-seeded Redlands East Valley in the Inland Division quarterfinals and then put a scare into top-seeded Centennial in the semis before ultimately losing, 41-21.

5. Redlands East Valley, 11-1 – Give the Wildcats credit for turning the national spotlight on the I.E. in Week 5 with their 10-7 victory against nationally ranked Mission Viejo. They went on to finish the regular season undefeated but fell back into their habit of losing early in the playoffs. A nonleague victory against City Section-power Dorsey also stands bright on their resume.

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I.E.: Boys' basketball Top 10

December, 6, 2011
12/06/11
6:37
PM PT
With the boys' basketball season a week under way, some teams have already proved they're a force to be reckoned with, while a few others have started a step slow. Here's a look at the teams and players to watch in the coming months, and where you can see them play.

1. J.W. North, 4-0

The Huskies return their top two scorers from last season’s 19-11 team. Aaron Peck, a 6-4 senior forward, was an all-Division 2A selection after averaging a team-high 17.5 points and nine rebounds. He forms a dangerous trio up front with 6-5 junior forwards Marcus Baugh (10.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg) and Dorian Butler (7.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg). Rancho Verde transfer DeShon Taylor, a sophomore guard, more than shores up the back court.

2. Etiwanda, 3-1

The Eagles graduated their top five scorers from last season’s team that advanced to the Division 1AA semifinals but should regroup well behind their next superstar, sophomore guard Jordan McLaughlin. The 5-11 ball handler scored 20 points Saturday night in a 72-61 loss to LaVerne Lutheran in the Rose City Classic championship game in Pasadena. Etiwanda will also count on 6-4 junior forward Sheldon Blackwell and 6-3 senior guard Dominique Walker.

3. Murrieta Valley, 5-0

The Nighthawks graduated their top two scorers from a team that finished 24-4 last season but appear to have filled the gaps in a hurray, evident by their 58-54 victory last weekend against Rancho Verde in the final of the Big Daddy tournament at Citrus Hill High. Darius Butler, a 6-3 senior forward, and Reid Shackelford, a 5-11 senior guard, appear willing and able to step into scoring roles. Butler is averaging 21 points through the first five games after averaging 8.7 last season, and Shackelford has bumped his scoring average up from 3.6 last season to 18.8. Jackson Helms, a 6-7 senior forward, is also rounding into one of the region’s better big men.

4. Rancho Verde, 3-1

Jordan Grace, a 6-2 senior guard, is a returning Division I-AA selection. He’ll team up nicely with 6-foot senior guard Kendall Schmidt, who transferred from Woodcrest Christian after averaging 25 points a game last season. Sophomore guards Jalen Hall and Tre Nottingham and 6-3 junior forward Lance Jones give the Mustangs additional depth, while 6-6 newcomer Khalil Fuller, the brother of Vanderbilt guard Kyle Fuller, will push to join the rotation.

5. Colony, 3-1

The Titans return their two best players from last season’s team, which finished 20-10, including 11-1 in the Mt. Baldy League, and advanced to the Division 2AA quarterfinals. Miles Poullard, a 6-2 senior guard, and Everett Turner, a 6-foot junior guard, were all-Division 2AA selections last season. With no player taller than 6-4 on the roster, the Titans will need to maintain an up-tempo pace to be successful.

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I.E.: The Top 10

December, 4, 2011
12/04/11
11:15
PM PT
The finish line is near for the 2011 high school football season. The cream has risen to the top heading into the Southern Section finals this weekend, and the Inland Empire will be well represented in the three most high-profile divisions. Here’s another look at the top teams in the region.

1. (1) Corona Centennial, 12-1 – After rushing for more than 300 yards in the first two rounds of the Inland Division playoffs, Romello Goodman was held to 248 in a 41-21 semifinal victory Friday night against Rancho Cucamonga at Los Osos High. Next: At Vista Murrieta, Friday.

2. (3) Vista Murrieta, 8-5 – The third-seeded Broncos wilted second-seeded Upland with a relentless pass rush and big plays on offense and special teams, adding up to a 39-18 victory Friday night in the other Inland Division semifinal at Vista Murrieta. Next: vs. Centennial, Friday.

3. (2) Upland, 12-1 – The Highlanders ran into an opponent that wouldn’t budge on defense and wasn’t easy to take down with a ball in their hands. Still, they had a season to remember.

4. (4) Rancho Cucamonga, 11-2 – The Cougars did all they could to stop Centennial but simply didn’t have enough bodies. They should have one of the region's more stout defenses next season, however.

5. (5) Redlands East Valley, 11-1 – If the Inland Division gets a state bowl berth over the Pac-5 next week, they can thank the Wildcats for their regular-season victory against Mission Viejo.

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I.E.: The Top 10

November, 27, 2011
11/27/11
10:47
PM PT
The top three teams put up 50-plus points in their Inland Division second-round victories, while Rancho Cucamonga found a way to win with just nine. Should make for some interesting semifinal action in the Inland Division.

1. (1) Corona Centennial, 11-1 – Romello Goodman accomplished something no other Centennial running back has, scoring eight touchdowns in a 56-21 victory Friday night against visiting Chaparral in an Inland Division second-round game. Goodman has rushed for more than 300 yards in each of the playoff victories. Next: vs. Rancho Cucamonga at Los Osos HS, Friday.

2. (2) Upland, 12-0 – Upland wide receiver Kenny Lawler continues his postseason parade to the end zone, snaring three touchdown passes in a 51-13 victory Friday night against Charter Oak in the Inland Division. Lawler, who has committed to Arizona State, has five of his eight touchdowns this season in the playoffs. Next: at Vista Murrieta, Friday.

3. (3) Vista Murrieta, 7-5 – Su’a Cravens continues to show that the offensive side of the ball might just be his best side, rushing for a career-high 205 yards in 10 carries and scoring on three long touchdown runs to lead Vista Murrieta to a 58-13 victory Friday night against J.W. North in an Inland Division game at Riverside College. Next: vs. Upland, Friday.

4. (5) Rancho Cucamonga, 11-1 – The Cougars demonstrated they know a thing or two about defense too, holding fourth-seeded Redlands East Valley to two field goals in a 9-6 victory Friday night in an Inland Division game at Citrus Valley High. Next: vs. Corona Centennial at Los Osos HS, Friday.

5. (4) Redlands East Valley, 11-1 – Offense has been a question mark for most of the season and the fourth-seeded Wildcats didn’t have an answer for Rancho Cucamonga, suffering their third straight early-round playoff exit after going unbeaten in Citrus Belt League play.

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I.E.: Eastern Division second-round previews

November, 23, 2011
11/23/11
7:05
PM PT
EASTERN DIVISION

Second round, Friday

No. 1 Summit (10-1) vs. Silverado (6-5) at Victor Valley HS, 7:30 p.m.

How they got here: Summit slipped by visiting Paloma Valley, 26-18, at A.B. Miller HS; Silverado beat Oak Hills in a rematch, 16-7, at Victor Valley.

Matchup to watch: Summit quarterback Bernard Porter (1,106 passing yards, 13 TDs) vs. Silverado’s pass rush (26 sacks).

Fast fact: Silverado posted one of the biggest upsets of the 2010 season when it traveled to A.B. Miller in Week 6 and stunned Summit, 20-18, then the top-ranked team in the Eastern Division.

Prediction: Summit 31, Silverado 10.

No. 4 Serrano (9-2) at Elsinore (8-3), 7:30 p.m.

How they got here: Serrano upended visiting Granite Hills, 45-7; Elsinore beat visiting West Valley, 60-39.

Matchup to watch: Serrano running back Adarius Hogan (1,356 rushing yards, 15 TDs) vs. Elsinore linebacker Nolan Peralta (11.6 tackles per game).

Fast fact: Elsinore was the surprise Eastern Division champion last season, winning the program’s only section title in the school’s 84-year history.

Prediction: Serrano 24, Elsinore 14.

No. 3 Heritage (10-1) at Kaiser (8-3), 7:30 p.m.

How they got here: Heritage knocked off visiting Sultana, 56-21; Kaiser beat visiting San Jacinto, 37-19.

Matchup to watch: Kaiser running backs Marquette Washington and Taleeb Isom (332 combined rushing yards last week, five TDs) vs. Heritage linebacker Tony Hifo (7.6 tackles per game).

Fast fact: Kaiser had its streak of 10 consecutive Sunkist League titles ended this season by Summit.

Prediction: Heritage 28, Kaiser 14.

No. 2 Citrus Hill (11-0) at Ridgecrest Burroughs (6-5), 7:30 p.m.

How they got here: Citrus Hill defeated visiting Norte Vista, 55-28; Burroughs won at Apple Valley, 27-14.

Matchup to watch: San Jose State-bound defensive end Kyle Hart of Burroughs (6-3, 240) vs. Colorado-bound running back Davien Payne of Citrus Hill (1,382 rushing yards, 26 TDs).

Fast fact: Citrus Hill opened the playoffs last season by hosting Burroughs and lost, 24-6. Now it’s the Hawks who have to make the 340-mile round trip to Ridgecrest.

Prediction: Citrus Hill 42, Burroughs 17.

I.E.: The Top 10

November, 21, 2011
11/21/11
1:13
AM PT
Despite a few close calls, the Inland Empire top 10 got through the first round of the Southern Section playoffs intact. That won’t be the case this week, however.

1. (1) Corona Centennial, 10-1 – The Huskies found themselves in a shootout with an unlikely opponent Friday night in their Inland Division first-round game but ultimately prevailed against Redlands, 49-35, thanks to five touchdowns for running back Romello Goodman. Next: vs. Chaparral, Friday.

2. (2) Upland, 11-0 – Arizona State-bound wide receiver Kenny Lawler showed his big-play ability for Upland in a 59-21 victory Friday night against Murrieta Valley, hauling in first-half touchdown passes of 45, 60 and 55 yards in the Inland Division opener. Next: vs. Charter Oak, Friday

3. (3) Vista Murrieta, 6-5 – The Broncos scored 28 unanswered points in the second quarter Friday night against visiting Damien and coasted to a 38-13 victory in an Inland Division first-round game. Next: vs. J.W. North at TBD, Friday

4. (4) Redlands East Valley, 11-0 – The Wildcats had to come from behind twice against Norco in a turnover-filled Inland Division first-round game Friday night before holding on to win, 20-15. Next: vs. Rancho Cucamonga at TBD, Friday.

5. (5) Rancho Cucamonga, 10-1 – The Cougars escaped their Inland Division first-round game by completing a 37-yard desperation pass with no time on the clock against Chino Hills, giving them the points they needed in a 39-38 victory. Next: vs. Redlands East Valley at TBD, Friday.

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I.E.: The Top 10

November, 13, 2011
11/13/11
10:25
PM PT
The regular season came to a close last weekend and the top teams retained their momentum heading into the Southern Section playoffs. Another undefeated team makes its debut in the top 10, but it’s one-loss Corona Centennial that remains the team to beat.

1. (1) Corona Centennial, 9-1 – Hayden Gavett passed for a career-high 356 yards, all in the first half, in a 58-3 victory Thursday against Riverside King. Believe it or not, he was out-shined by King kicker Garrett Swanson, who booted a 60-yard field goal to become the first I.E. kicker to hit from that distance. Next: vs. Redlands, Friday.

2. (2) Upland, 10-0 – The Highlanders began looking forward to the playoffs at halftime, as they led Alta Loma, 42-3, before finishing off with a 49-3 victory Thursday night. Ten different players carried the ball for Upland. Next: vs. Murrieta Valley, Friday.

3. (3) Vista Murrieta, 5-5 – The Broncos bucked off Murrieta Mesa in a 51-20 victory Thursday night, but now the defense has some question marks after allowing 20 or more points for the fifth time this season. Next: vs. Damien, Friday.

4. (4) Redlands East Valley, 10-0 – The Wildcats appear to be rolling on all cylinders after defeating Yucaipa, 48-0, in a matchup of undefeated teams Thursday night. REV scored all its points in the first half. Next: vs. Norco, Friday.

5. (5) Rancho Cucamonga, 9-1 – The Cougars scored 31 consecutive points after giving up the first touchdown Thursday night against Los Osos and went on to win, 38-14, to secure second place in the Baseline League. Next: vs. Chino Hills, Friday.

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CIF-SS playoffs: Eastern Division

November, 13, 2011
11/13/11
2:40
PM PT
CIF-SS playoffs:
Eastern Division
Here’s a breakdown of the division:

The seeds: No. 1 Summit, No. 2 Citrus Hill, No. 3 Heritage, No. 4 Serrano.

Best first-round matchup: Oak Hills (8-2) at Silverado (5-5) -- Oak Hills entered Week 9 with an unbeaten record and even made an appearance in the ESPNLA Inland Empire top 10 before losing its final two games to finish third in the Mojave River League. Among its victories was a 20-6 triumph against Silverado in its final nonleague tune up Oct. 7. Silverado went 0-5 in nonleague play but found its stride while winning the Desert Sky League and likely feels as if it has a score to settle with the Bulldogs.

Toughest road: Summit (9-1) -- The SkyHawks are the favorite to win this division, but they’ll have to earn their stripes. They open against Paloma Valley, a team playing with nothing to lose after beating defending division champion Elsinore on Thursday to finish in a three-way tie for third in the Sunbelt League, then winning a tiebreaker to get into the playoffs. Summit would then get the winner of Oak Hills and Silverado.

Potential shocker: West Valley at Elsinore, first round – Heading into Week 9 of the regular season, Elsinore seemed a lock to secure one of the top three seeds in the division, but then lost a Sunbelt League showdown against Heritage and didn’t show up in the loss to Paloma Valley, though the Tigers were already guaranteed second place in league. How they respond from their first two-game losing streak in three years is a key question heading into the playoffs. With two 1,000-yard rushers in sophomore Kishawn Holmes and junior Chris Anderson, West Valley will surely test Elsinore’s psyche.

Darkhorse: Kaiser (7-3) -- Elsinore was a darkhorse when it won this title last season and Kaiser has a similar makeup heading into the postseason. The Cats missed out on their first Sunkist League title in 10 years with a 21-7 loss to Summit last week, but the program is accustomed to winning and has steadily improved as the season went along. If the Cats can find a way to scrape together three touchdowns, they’ll be tough for any team to beat.

Final analysis: Summit and Citrus Hill would seem the leaders of this pack, but it would be a huge mistake for any team to look past Heritage or Serrano. Heritage played the Central Division’s top-seeded team, Rancho Verde, closer than anyone this season, and Serrano came within 10 points of defeating Upland, the third-seeded team in the powerful Inland Division.

Championship prediction: This division might be the toughest to predict of any in the Inland Empire. As has been noted, the top four seeds are very even and then you have opponents such as Elsinore, Kaiser and Oak Hills that can step up at any time and play a big game. The difference last season came down to defense and Citrus Hill and Summit might be the most prepared in that department. Summit has the Inland Empire’s all-time interception leader in Boise State-bound defensive back Donte Deayon and Citrus Hill has a dominant defensive end in Roosevelt Pearson. Where the Hawks separate themselves from Summit is at running back. Citrus Hill features one of the I.E.’s best in Colorado-bound senior Davien Payne. Citrus Hill 30, Summit 28.

Link to the Eastern Division bracket on CalPreps.com

I.E.: The Top 10

November, 6, 2011
11/06/11
11:39
PM PT
The Inland Empire top 10 went unbeaten last week. In fact, nine teams won by at least 20 points and seven clinched at least a share of a league championship.

1. (1) Corona Centennial, 8-1 – The Huskies faced an injury-depleted Roosevelt team Friday night and didn’t show any mercy in the 45-24 victory, which all but sewed up another outright Big VIII League title. Next: at Riverside King, Thursday.

2. (2) Upland, 9-0 – The Highlanders found themselves tied late in the second quarter Friday against Los Osos, then stepped on the gas and scored five consecutive touchdowns in the 49-21 victory, clinching at least a share of the Baseline League title. Next: vs. Alta Loma, Thursday.

3. (3) Vista Murrieta, 4-5 – The Broncos also wrapped up at least a share of the Southwestern League title and a likely top four seeding for the Inland Division playoffs with a 23-14 victory against Murrieta Valley. Next: vs. Murrieta Mesa, Thursday.

4. (4) Redlands East Valley, 9-0 – The Wildcats finally put some distance between themselves and their opponent in a 49-0 victory Friday against Fontana. Now they need to prepare for another tough battle in their Citrus Belt League finale. Next: at Yucaipa, Thursday.

5. (5) Rancho Cucamonga, 8-1 – Dimitri Morales and Jermel Walker hooked up on two long touchdown passes Friday night in a Baseline League game against Glendora, and the Cougars needed every yard in the 34-13 victory. Next: at Los Osos, Thursday.

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I.E.: The Top 10

October, 30, 2011
10/30/11
11:47
PM PT
There was no letting up for the top seven teams in last week’s rankings, but there was some turnover at the bottom. Two additional undefeated teams make their debut after winning key league games last week. Meanwhile, a Big VIII League team dropped out of the top 10 for the second consecutive week.

1. (1) Corona Centennial, 7-1 – For the third consecutive game, the Huskies punted the ball just once, and for the sixth straight game they scored at least 48 points in a 49-6 victory Friday at Corona. Next: vs. Roosevelt, Friday.

2. (2) Upland, 8-0 – Upland fullback/defensive lineman Christian Powell landed a scholarship offer from Washington last week, then went out Friday night and scored a touchdown on both offense and defense in a 49-3 victory against Glendora at Citrus College. Next: vs. Los Osos, Friday.

3. (3) Vista Murrieta, 3-5 – The Broncos forfeited five games last week for using an ineligible player but returned to winning games on the field in a 45-24 victory Friday against Great Oak. Su’a Cravens rushed for three touchdowns in the victory. Next: vs. Murrieta Valley, Friday.

4. (4) Redlands East Valley, 8-0 – The Wildcats had five more sacks in a 34-14 victory Friday against Eisenhower, raising their season total to 23. REV surged to a 27-0 halftime lead. Next: vs. Fontana at Citrus Valley HS, Friday.

5. (5) Rancho Cucamonga, 7-1 – The Cougars returned two kickoffs for touchdowns Friday in a 30-27 victory against Etiwanda, the second coming by Chris Hawkins with 3:30 remaining, providing Rancho Cucamonga its final three-point edge. Next: vs. Glendora at Los Osos HS, Friday.

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I.E.: The Top 10

October, 23, 2011
10/23/11
11:25
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Two ranked teams dropped from the ranks of the unbeaten last weekend and another needed overtime to keep its perfect record intact. Nine unbeaten teams remain in all from the Inland, Central and Eastern divisions, including one top 10 newcomer.

1. (1) Corona Centennial, 6-1 – The Huskies passed their final true test of the regular season with flying colors Friday night, using the tandem of quarterback Hayden Gavett and running back Romello Goodman to dismantle Norco, 45-18. Next: at Corona, Friday.

2. (2) Upland, 7-0 – The Highlanders once again proved they might be the only Inland Division team capable of staying with Centennial come playoff time, delivering another solid all-around performance in a 31-17 victory Friday against visiting Rancho Cucamonga. Next: vs. Glendora at Citrus College, Friday.

3. (5) Vista Murrieta, 7-0 – The Broncos are another team that has the defense to compete with anyone in the Inland Division, they just need to find a bit more offense. They held Temecula Valley to 64 total yards Friday night in a 41-3 victory. Next: at Great Oak, Friday.

4. (3) Redlands East Valley, 7-0 – The Wildcats had to rally late against Redlands to avoid being part of the second-biggest upset in the Inland Empire this season. They scored a touchdown with five minutes remaining Friday to tie Redlands and then won in overtime, 21-14. Next: at Eisenhower, Friday.

5. (4) Rancho Cucamonga, 6-1 – The Cougars finally got a chance to play a top 25 opponent and they likely learned a few things in the 31-17 loss to Upland. Mainly, win the turnover battle and you have a much better chance to win the game. Next: vs. Etiwanda at Los Osos, HS, Friday.

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